Self-compassion can be seen as three things, which we can practice regularly.
FIRST: Mindfulness (awareness) – The acknowledgement and non-judgmental acceptance of whatever is happening to us right now. This includes noticing, allowing and feeling our painful feelings. It also means not becoming overidentified with our problems, in which we lose perspective and tend to catastrophize what’s happening – making things worse.
SECOND: Common humanity (perspective) – This means we understand that our painful experiences and feelings are part of being human; they are not meant as punishment, something we deserve because we have done something wrong. We do not need to feel ashamed of our feelings such as anger, depression, anxiety, or fear. We are simply having a human experience.
THIRD: Kindness (action) – Understanding that we are in pain and need to be kind to ourselves, especially when we make mistakes or fail rather than being harshly self-critical and judgmental. Talking to ourselves kindly and with compassion can help us bear our difficulties more easily. When we are unkind we cause ourselves ‘unnecessary suffering’.